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What is a Surface Water Management Plan?

What is a surface water management plan (SWMP)?

A Surface Water Management Plan is a study to understand the risk from local flood sources and outlines a long-term action plan to manage these risks. Some of these flood sources include:

  • Surface water drains
  • Groundwater
  • Small watercourses

A SWMP helps us to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and Flood Risk Regulation 2009.

You can see critical drainage areas identified by our SWMPs on the flood risk and asset register map.

What are the benefits of SWMPs?

Some of the benefits include:

  • Using the results of the study to identify Critical Drainage Areas (CDA) and building these into flood risk maps
  • Provides a better understanding of local flood risk
  • Provides information for emergency plans  and future developments
  • Helps to manage drainage systems properly
  • Helps to create an action plan to guide management of local flood risk
  • An understanding of the duties and responsibilities of different partners and stakeholders for managing flood risk
  • A way to let the public know about local flood risk
  • Identifies potential relief measures during a flood

Where have they been carried out?

SWMPs are carried out in areas identified as high risk of flooding from local sources within cities and towns. We produce our SWMPs with the involvement of key partners such as:

  • Environment Agency
  • Local districts
  • Anglian Water
  • Thames Water and
  • Essex Highways

SWMP have been carried out in:

  • Chelmsford
  • Maldon
  • Harlow
  • Brentwood
  • Basildon
  • Rochford
  • Castle Point
  • Colchester
  • Epping and Loughton
  • Braintree and Witham
  • Clacton-on-Sea
  • Lower Sheering

Request a copy of a SWMP report

If you would like to request a copy of a SWMP for a particular area, please email

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